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Ev'n from the gallows did his fell foul fleet,
Shy. 'Till thou can'ft rail the feal from off my bond,
Duke. This letter from Bellario doth commend
Ner. He attendeth here hard by
To know your anfwer, whether you'll admit him. Duke. With all my heart. Some three or four of you
Go give him courteous conduct to this place:
OUR Grace hall understand, that, at the receipt of your letter, I am very fick but at the inftant that your messenger came, in loving vifitation was with me a young Doctor of Rome, his name is Balthafar : I acquainted him with the caufe in controverfie between the Jew and Anthonio the merchant. We turn'd o'er many books together: he is furnish'd with my opinion, which, bettered with his own learning, (the greatness whereof I cannot enough commend,), comes with him at my importunity, to fill up your Grace's request in my Stead. I befeech you, let his lack of years be no impediment, to let him lack a reverend eftimation: For I never knew fo young a body with fo old a head. I leave him to your gracious acceptance, whofe trial fhall better publifb his commendation.
Enter Portia, drefs'd like a Doctor of Laws.
Duke. You hear the learn'd Bellario what he writes,
And here, I take it, is the Doctor-come.
-Give me your hand. Came you from old Bellario?
Por. I did, my lord.
Duke. You're welcome: take your place.
Shy. Shylock is my name.
Por. Of a strange nature is the fuit you follow;
-You ftand within his danger, do you not? [To Anth.
Por. Do you confefs the bond?
Anth. I do.
Por. Then must the Jew be merciful.
Shy. On what compulfion muft I? tell me that.
And earthly power doth then fhew likeft God's,
The deeds of mercy. I have spoke thus much
Por. Is he not able to discharge the mony?
That malice bears down truth. 9 And I beseech you, Wreft once the law to your authority.
To do a great right, do a little wrong;
Por. It must not be; there is no pow'r in Venice, Can alter a decree established.
'Twill be recorded for a precedent;
And many an error, by the fame example,
It cannot be.
Shy. A Daniel come to judgment! yea, a Daniel. O wife young judge, how do I honour thee ! Por. I pray you, let me look upon the bond. Shy. Here 'tis, moft rev'rend Doctor, here it is. Por. Shylock, there's thrice thy money offer'd thee. Shy. An oath, an oath,-I have an oath in heav'n. Shall I lay perjury upon my foul? No, not for Venice.
Por. Why, this bond is forfeit ;
9 Malice bears down truth.] man. We now call the jury good Malice oppreffes honefty, a true men and true. man in old language is an honeft
Shy. When it is paid according to the tenour.It doth appear, you are a worthy judge; You know the law: your expofition Hath been moft found. I charge you by the law, Whereof you are a well-deferving pillar, Proceed to judgment. By my fou! I fwear, There is no power in the tongue of man To alter me. I ftay here on my bond.
Anth. Moft heartily I do befcech the Court To give the judgment.
Por. Why, then thus it is:
You must prepare your bofom for his knife.
Shy. 'Tis very true. O wife and upright judge,
So fays the bond, doth it not, noble judge?
Por. It is fo. Are there fcales, to weigh the flesh?
Por. Have by fome furgeon, Shylock, on your charge,
To ftop his wounds, left he fhould bleed to death.
Por. It is not fo exprefs'd; but what of that? 'Twere good, you do fo much for charity.
Shy. I cannot find it, 'tis not in the bond. Por. Come, merchant, have you any thing to fay? Anth. But little; I am arm'd, and well prepar'd. Give me your hand, Balfanio, fare ye well! Grieve not, that I am fall'n to this for you: For herein fortune thews herfelt more kind, Than is her cuftom. It is ftill her ufe, To let the wretched man out-live his wealth,
To view with hollow eye, and wrinkled brow,
Baff. Anthonio, I am married to a wife,
Por. Your wife would give you little thanks for that,
Gra. I have a wife, whom I proteft, I love;
Ner. 'Tis well, you offer it behind her back;
Shy. Thele be the chriftian husbands. I've a daughter;
'Would, any of the ftock of Barrabas
Had been her husband, rather than a chriftian ! [Afide.
Por. A pound of that fame merchant's flesh is thine,
Shy. Moft rightful judge!
Por. And you must cutt is flesh from off his breaft; The law allows it, and the Court awards it.
Shy. Moft learned judge-a fentence-come, prepare,